LAKELAND, Fla. – The Nova Southeastern University men’s cross country team finished second overall, while the women’s team finished fourth overall, at the 2015 Sunshine State Conference Championship Saturday at Holloway Park.
The men had a pool of 56 total runners and finished with 38 points in the 8K race, just 10 short of the conference champions Saint Leo. The Sharks men’s team broke the school’s record with the lowest collective time of 25:57 in an 8K competition. The Lions once again won the men’s event with just 28 points. The women, as part of a field of 72 runners, finished with 105 points in the 6K race, more than a 75-point difference from first place Tampa. The Sharks women’s team defeated the Florida Southern team, who was ranked above the Sharks in the regional rankings The Spartans dethroned Saint Leo in the women’s event by finishing with 28 points overall.
“I’m proud of both teams,” said cross country head coach Bryan Hagopian post race. “The course that the meet was on was by far one of the hardest they see.”
Wade White (Jr., Bangor, Pa.) led the Shark men and finished fourth overall. His time of 25:46 is his second best 8K race time of his career. Christian Oppel (Sr., Lautertal, Germany) followed White very closely and finished fifth with a time of 25:48. Benjamin Manuel (Jr., Willemstad, Curacao) also joined the Sharks caravan and finished sixth with a time of 25:57. Also finishing in the top 10 overall was Maximilian Sperl (Fr., Regensburg, Germany) placing ninth with a time of 26:04. Thomas Ingalls (Jr., St. George, Utah) tried to keep the pace of the team leaders and finished just six seconds behind Sperl along side a large pool of runners, which put him in 14th place overall.
Freshman runner, Anabel Knoll (Fr., Ingolstadt, Germany) led the women’s team by finishing third overall and recording her career best 6K race time at 22:31. Imke Oelerich (Sr., Braunschweig, Germany) kept up with her teammate’s speed for most of the race which helped her place an impressive 16th place overall with a time of 23:58. Junior runner Kelsey Fox (Jr., Brookfield, Wisc.), also known for her consistency in being part of NSU’s top five runners this season, finished in 27th place with a time of 25:08. Just seven seconds behind Fox was Janelle Shipotofsky (Fr., Sicklerville, N.J.), who finished in 29th place with a time of 25:15. Wrapping up the Sharks’ top five was Stephanie De La Guarda (So., Miami, Fla.) in 36th place with a time of 25:26.
“Both teams came to race, and they did,” said coach Hagopian, referring to the exceptional concentration and performance of both men’s and women’s sides. “We are now looking to run at regionals, where we look to improve and lower our times and also advance to the national tournament.”
The Sharks will be back to competition on Saturday, Nov. 7 for the NCAA South Region Championship in St. Leo, Florida.